EVEN IN A CITY OF STAGGERING SUPERLATIVES, DUBAI’S NEWEST LUXURY RESORT PUSHES THE BOUNDARIES
OF HOSPITALITY, FROM SPRAWLING PENTHOUSES CLAD IN ITALIAN MARBLE TO THE WORLD’S LARGEST JELLYFISH AQUARIUM
BY AMANDA McCOY
In a futurama metropolis like Dubai, with its mind-warping proportions, neck-craning heights, and kaleidoscopic hues, it takes a special alchemy of novelty and innovation to stand out from the sky-defying crowd. From the sail shaped, 56 story Burj Al Arab the tallest all suite hotel in the world to Instagram starring newcomers like the Zaha Hadid designed ME Hotel, the skyline is swimming in superstructures. Visitors can choose between sleeping amid reef sharks and piranhas in an underwater suite in Atlantis, The Palm, or atop the skyline in the Gevora Hotel, the world’s tallest resort. It’s a city bred for glamorous adventure, so when a new Dubai-born resort touted itself as the most luxurious experiential hotel in the world, wander lusters everywhere took note.
“Openings of resorts like this one only come around once or twice in a decade, and we can’t wait to share it with the world,” said Managing Director of Atlantis Dubai Tim Kelly. It’s a lofty statement, but with 17 celebrity chef run restaurants, a 22nd-story sky pool, and the world’s largest jellyfish aquarium, Atlantis The Royal lives up to the hype. The property even partnered with Grammy-winning DJ sensation Tiësto and singer Tate McRae to commemorate the launch with a new single “10:35,” depicting the sleepless extravagance of the Dubai resort lifestyle.
Led by global developer Kerzner International and part of the ultra luxury hospitality group Atlantis Resorts and Residences, Atlantis The Royal is a 43-story mega hotel overlooking the Arabian Sea. It’s nestled along a 1.2 mile long private beach on Palm Jumeirah, an artificial archipelago off the coast of Dubai that resembles a circle-encased palm frond from the sky (Jumeirah is one of three ambitious, man-made projects that make up the Palm Islands). New York-based architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox was tapped to spearhead the design of the $1.4 billion resort. The facade presents as a deconstructed skyscraper, a cantilevered stack of glass blocks that resembles a half played game of Jenga. The stacks form six interconnected towers, joined in the center by a lavish 22nd floor sky bridge. One tower is reserved for private residences, while the other five houses the 795 hotel rooms, including 44 luxury suites and penthouses.
Standard guest rooms are divided into two categories depending on orientation: Palmscape and Seascape (the former offers sweeping vistas of Palm Island and the Dubai skyline, while the latter overlooks the cyan blue waters of the Arabian Sea). All stretch nearly 600 square feet and offer private balconies, luxurious Frette bathrobes, Graff amenities, and spa like bathrooms with spacious walk-in showers and standalone tubs. Upgrade to one of three suite types for a platter of ultra luxe extras like bespoke Italian marble bathrooms and 200 square feet of panoramic terraces in the Junior Sky View Suites; 1,200 square feet of living space and 24-hour butler service in the Sky Terrace Suites; and massive private infinity pools and al fresco dining tables in the Sky Pool Villas. All rooms feature adjustable mood lighting, Nespresso coffee machines, and large smart TVs.
The signature penthouses range in size from 2,000 to a sprawling 12,000 square feet, each finished with a dedicated terrace and panoramic infinity pool. The largest and most luxurious, the Royal Mansion, spans two palatial levels and features four bedrooms, a private foyer with 100-year-old olive trees, an entertainment room with library and bar area, and a 5,000 square foot outdoor terrace with an outdoor kitchen and the resort’s largest in-suite infinity pool. Guests can hire a celebrity chef to host private in-room dinners, served on a 12-person outdoor dining table. Too tired to trudge up the staircase? Opt for the in-suite lift instead.
Suites and penthouse guests have the option to curate their perfect bedtime experience with a mini pillow menu, consisting of seven varieties: cool down, memory foam for head, memory foam for feet, buckwheat, pregnancy, and body pillow.
With 17 restaurants and day/night clubs, there’s a spot for every type of fete. Grab a cabana and dish on soft shell crab rolls and sashimi at Nobu by the Beach (the Japanese brand’s first beach club), feast on Jamón Ibérico with scratch-made sangria at Jaleo Dubai by José Andrés, or opt for Peruvian street food favorites at La Mar by Gastón Acurio. Celebrity chefs Ariana Bundy, Costas Spiliadis, and Heston Blumenthal also have locales. Blumenthal’s first cocktail bar, dubbed Resonance, houses the world’s largest jellyfish aquarium, home to 4,000 moon jellies.
The entertainment focal point is Cloud 22, the resort’s unabashedly extravagant outdoor experience featuring a 295-foot sky pool, duplex cabanas with giant TVs (one even has a private pool), and mind-bending lighting fixtures and blown glass sculptures. As the sun melts into the Persian Gulf, the intensity heats up with neon lights and DJ sets.
Opening date is slated for February 10. Rooms begin at $795 per night.